How in the heck did we logistically get to London with luggage, and two kids?
This was the SCARIEST part of our move for me. Probably Andy too. I lost more sleep about how I was logistically going to make it across the pond than worrying about missing family, my job, etc. So the weeks leading up to the flight I was on FB groups, YouTube and Google doing research on ways to make it on an airplane with two kids.
So here is what we did.
Here’s what all we had to take:
3 large suitcase
2 carry ons
1 double stroller
1 pack n play
2 carry ons/backpacks
2.5 Toddlers- I counted Andy
Our flight took off from Cincinnati at 3:10 pm and we left our house at 11:30am to get their by noon. We wanted to give ourselves PLENTY of time to get through security and navigate all our stuff with the kids. This was a great amount of time. Thank goodness. But then I was worried how we would entertain the kids while we waited for the plane. Abel watched the planes go in and out and we of course had a bag of trains packed with a mini track that he spread out at the airport.
All in all the waiting wasn’t bad. I think they were distracted by all the aiport people watching and airplanes.
We checked the large luggage and the pack n play. We checked the double stroller at the gate in a bright green stroller bag- so to not damage it and to easily identify it on the turntable. What did we use instead of a stroller through the airport? We got these GREAT straps on amazon (Click the link to see!) that strapped our carseats to our wheely luggage. So we had read that you can take your carseats on long flights and because we had an overnight flight we thought this would be great since the kids sleep great in their carseats. We also wanted to have them for when we rented cars over here. So we literally wheeled the kids in their carseats attached to luggage through the airport. It was great!
We did buy Norah her own seat. Otherwise I’d have had to hold her on my lap for the 7 hours over the ocean. Have you seen Norah? She’s a the marshmallow giant from Ghostbusters…. Stay Puft! Not going to happen.
So we couldn’t get direct to London. This REALLY freaked me out. You mean I have to get my kids on TWO airplanes? So we flew to New York first on a quick 2 hour flight. Kids in their carseats and it was great. Delta even gave them their first Pilot Wings!
We had scheduled airport transport when we got to the gate so we made sure to not miss our connector. This was genius!! Thank you customer service lady for recommending! We hopped aboard (Abel thought it was a dump truck and therefore was all for it!) and some guy from Detroit hopped on with us and chatted with us the entire way about how he just retired at age 41. Thanks for rubbing it in dude. Never know who you’ll meet along your travels! Nice gent.
Onto the long haul flight- the terrifying, keep me up at night moment was upon us! We flew Virgin Airlines and thanks to my company, we flew first class. HOLY MOLY. Have any of you flown first class Virgin? Haha I just chuckled out loud (COL? Did I just coin something?) at “first class Virgin.” Anyway… incredible. We had pod type seats. Andy was in one aisle with Abel and I was in another with Norah. We had 4 separate pods all with chairs that went into bed and TV’s on arms. Not to mention free bar. I think as soon as we sat down in our pods and before we took off we had 2 glasses of bubbly each! They even offeres sleeping clothes! By this time it was oh I’d say ten pm maybe… Put the beds down…hoped to get the kids to sleep. NOPE. Up ALL night, But it was fine… they weren’t too fussy but Andy and I were EXHAUSTED. I think they were just so distracted by all the new and different.
Norah and I had a British family next to us that were coming back from Holiday in NYC. They were absolutely delightful. They just ADORED Norah. The daughter was probably 12 and she was playing peek a boo with Norah. She had such a thick accent. It made me feel so at ease heading to England if everyone was as nice as they were. Made the experience so wonderful.
Andy was with Abel and Abel had a normal toddler tantrum for about an hour. He had fallen asleep sitting up and Andy put the chair back into a bed so he’d be more comfortable. DON’T POKE THE BEAR! If you mess with Abel when he’s sleeping… your life is over. At least your sanity. He cried and wimpered and fussed for a good hour. And with those… you just have to let him be. If you try and stop it or do something to make it better it makes it worse. I think this is the only point either kid had any issues or tantrums so still, not bad at all.
When we finally arrived in London, I think the kids had maybe slept an hour and us as well. We arrived around 6am London time and had a driver prearranged by our mobility company to take us to our temporary flat. So we got our luggage at baggage claim. ALL of it. It actually ALL arrived. I couldn’t believe it. We hopped into a Mercedes van and headed into central London to our flat. That ride took another 1.5 hours because of traffic early in the morning. By this time the kids were ready to be out of their carseats. I think they cried the entire way and thankfully the driver had several kids of his own and was so empathetic. We stood outside our flat with all our luggage and the kids and had a HUGE sigh of relief. 16 hours of travel later and we had made it!!!!! Here is our temporaty flat. We loved the area so much that we decided to stay in Marylebone. Great parks, amazing butcher shop and a nice corner pub to call our own. Oh, and a fantastic Indian place!
Tips for long flights with kids
1. If you have the means fly first class Virgin Airlines. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Best experience on a flight. We had beds and they were so accommodating for the children.
2. If you are taking your carseats BUY THE WHEELY STRAPS!
3. Pack a carry on for the kids full of small new toys, snacks and load any tablets or your own phones with NEW games. New is key because it’s new and different and will hold their attention longer.
4. Pack extra kids clothes in the carry on. Thankfully we did this because when toddler eat or do anything they somehow get dirty and they would have been in the same clothes for up to 15 hours.
5. If you have multiple kids- put their clothes together in 1 large suitcase. One less thing to carry!
6. Roll your clothes. Makes more room. It’s so true. Stuff your shoes with small items- we had our shoes stuffed with wall adapters, chargers, etc.
7. Have your mother in law pack your luggage for you- she somehow made everything tiny and fit. Thanks Oma!
Things we should have done:
Bought melatonin gummies for the kids. Melatonin in the UK has to be prescriped! Say What?!
Maybe not have brought the carseats- I didn’t realize we’d have pods on Virgin Airlines. If you don’t have the means to fly first class than yes, carseats for that long would be helpful otherwise you have to either keep a toddler in that big seat with an adult seatbelt. That won’t happen. OR you have to hold your baby on your lap for that long.
Not had any expectations of our kids sleeping- it’s all new and different.